In cities across America, organizations like Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority are under suspicion of catering to developers and big monied interests. Is that true? And is there a better way for Detroit or other cities to handle these situations? Could the city simply set aside some of this money to directly benefit neighborhoods and low-income residents?
Dudley compares Detroit’s approach to development and taxpayer subsidies for things like arenas and casinos to other cities across the country.
“This is a familiar narrative and it has been since in American cities since the 1970s and 80s,” says Dudley.
Dudley discusses a story recently published in CityLab, titled “The Private Lives of Quasi-Public Agencies.” He says the history of these organizations goes all the way back to the Progressive Era in the first part of the 20th Century.
“They were originally designed around the fact that local government can be sort of corrupt.”
Dudley discusses how different cities have other variations.
“Recently, Baltimore has become aware of just how limited those successes are.”
He says, in some ways, Detroit is actually doing better than other cities when it comes to its relationship with these kinds of organizations.
“One thing that is interesting in Detroit is the idea of transparency and the idea that this organization needs to be more accountable to the people… that is a pretty rare thing. So, it’s possible that you guys are on the cutting edge.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.